AfterDawn: Tech news

Another Foxconn worker dies

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 08 Aug 2010 14:41 User comments (13)

Another Foxconn worker dies In May we reported that Foxconn was raising worker salaries up to 70 percent amidst a flood of worker suicides at their Chinese factory.
The company, probably best known for manufacturing the Apple iPhone among tons of other electronics we use daily, has been massively criticized for its working conditions, and low wages.

This week, the company has confirmed a new death at its Chinese plants, a 22-year old assembly worker.

The company says the woman "fell from a dormitory at a plant" in mainland China.

Police are still looking into the incident.

Foxconn, and parent Hon Hai have been under intense scrutiny all year following the eleven suicides at its plants in China. Worker's families were compensated ten times the worker's annual salary after each suicide, leading many to believe that the deaths were intentional to pass on money to family members.

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13 user comments

18.8.2010 21:15

would you not buy a foxconn product because of worker conditions/suicides?

and if so, would it change you mind knowing that foxconn employees suicide at a rate less than the national average, or indeed significantly less than Frances largest telecoms company?

Australia (1999):
26.3 per 100,000 people

China (1999, not counting HK):
27.8 per 100,000 people

USA (1999):
21.7 per 100,000 people

Foxconn (2010 extrapolated):
4.125 per 100,000

France Telecom (2008/2009 averaged):
17.5 per 100,000 people

The article above gives the impression that working conditions are unbearable and causing people to kill themselves. Or that people are killing themselves for financial gain to others. The statistics don't show that. While i certainly would feel in a miserable existence working in one of those factories. What irks me is the journalist making a conclusion where one does not (statistically) exist. To quote xkcd
Science: It works bitches.



http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevent...uiciderates/en/
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/foremski/media...icide-risk/1356

28.8.2010 21:24

"If" she just fell then this is a non story. Work place accidents happen all the time. This is only news because of the iPhone. Why cant people just accept that people like the phone and get over it.

39.8.2010 2:54
llongtheD
Inactive

Originally posted by djeazyg:
"If" she just fell then this is a non story. Work place accidents happen all the time. This is only news because of the iPhone. Why cant people just accept that people like the phone and get over it.
Whats with the Iphone defense? The article said nothing bashing the iphone, but horrible working conditions at chinese factories. Its companies like this that allow people like you to afford products like the iphone, at the expense of other peoples lives. Eleven people have committed suicide at their "plants" in the past year alone. These people are no more than slaves that live in dormatories right at the factory. Do you live in a dormatory located at your jobsite? Pull your head out and look at the bigger picture.

49.8.2010 3:17
llongtheD
Inactive

Originally posted by magnets:
would you not buy a foxconn product because of worker conditions/suicides?

and if so, would it change you mind knowing that foxconn employees suicide at a rate less than the national average, or indeed significantly less than Frances largest telecoms company?

Australia (1999):
26.3 per 100,000 people

China (1999, not counting HK):
27.8 per 100,000 people

USA (1999):
21.7 per 100,000 people

Foxconn (2010 extrapolated):
4.125 per 100,000

France Telecom (2008/2009 averaged):
17.5 per 100,000 people

The article above gives the impression that working conditions are unbearable and causing people to kill themselves. Or that people are killing themselves for financial gain to others. The statistics don't show that. While i certainly would feel in a miserable existence working in one of those factories. What irks me is the journalist making a conclusion where one does not (statistically) exist. To quote xkcd
Science: It works bitches.



http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevent...uiciderates/en/
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/foremski/media...icide-risk/1356

I guess what you failed to realize, "Mr. Science" is that these people are killing themselves AT THIER PLACE OF WORK, at the dormatories they live in, at the job where they work 16 plus hour days. I'd love to hear your justification for the amount of people that die in chinese coal mines every year as well.
If its such a great place to work, maybe you should get a job there, and spare us the skewed statistics. Eleven suicides at one factory, come on, obviously your a foxconn shill. Don't worry, I doubt this will affect your companies stock prices, people will still buy cheap electronics.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Aug 2010 @ 3:39

If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

59.8.2010 3:34

Quote:
The company says the woman "fell from a dormitory at a plant" in mainland China.
Funny how you fall after you jump out of a window...but if you are not going to call it suicide, then get it right...the jump didn't kill her, the fall didn't kill her either...it was the sudden stop that did her in. Why not just say she died of impact trauma? That way, it sounds like a car accident.


Originally posted by magnets:
would you not buy a foxconn product because of worker conditions/suicides?

and if so, would it change you mind knowing that foxconn employees suicide at a rate less than the national average, or indeed significantly less than Frances largest telecoms company?

Australia (1999):
26.3 per 100,000 people

China (1999, not counting HK):
27.8 per 100,000 people

USA (1999):
21.7 per 100,000 people

Foxconn (2010 extrapolated):
4.125 per 100,000

France Telecom (2008/2009 averaged):
17.5 per 100,000 people

The article above gives the impression that working conditions are unbearable and causing people to kill themselves. Or that people are killing themselves for financial gain to others. The statistics don't show that. While i certainly would feel in a miserable existence working in one of those factories. What irks me is the journalist making a conclusion where one does not (statistically) exist. To quote xkcd
Science: It works bitches.



http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevent...uiciderates/en/
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/foremski/media...icide-risk/1356

That is all very nice, but you are not exactly making a direct comparison. First of all, it is a given that everyone at the foxconn plant has a job that (at least) pays for their living expenses. These workers get healthcare (to a point), so they are generally drug-free (can't afford drugs anyway), and in decent health. Those who are in poor mental or physical health are usually fired. If you were to compare worker suicides that occur on company property at Foxconn vs any other company anywhere in the world, Foxconn would have the higher number. Factor in the low rates of physical problems, mental issues, and drug abuse, and Foxconn has significantly more suicides than any company that has similar rates of each...and on top of that, most Foxconn suicides happen on company property (Dorms are owned by Foxconn).

69.8.2010 4:16

Quote:
That is all very nice, but you are not exactly making a direct comparison. First of all, it is a given that everyone at the foxconn plant has a job that (at least) pays for their living expenses. These workers get healthcare (to a point), so they are generally drug-free (can't afford drugs anyway), and in decent health. Those who are in poor mental or physical health are usually fired. If you were to compare worker suicides that occur on company property at Foxconn vs any other company anywhere in the world, Foxconn would have the higher number. Factor in the low rates of physical problems, mental issues, and drug abuse, and Foxconn has significantly more suicides than any company that has similar rates of each...and on top of that, most Foxconn suicides happen on company property (Dorms are owned by Foxconn).
You make a very good point, but it doesn't explain the fact that Frances telecom company rate is so much higher.
Those workers (in France) presumably would also be fired for drug and alchohol abuse or be offered counselling (both scenarios should lower the suicide rate at the company).

one could also make the argument that if the workers did not live (or rather "be housed") at the work site then the suicide rate would be lower not higher still, (that's if we are not counting suicides outside of factory property).

I do see what you are saying but perhaps if we could compare Foxconn to other similar sized companies with similar conditions. It's my belief that foxconn would still have a lower rate.

@llongtheD
I don't doubt that compared to a western lifestyle, or indeed most lifestyles working in a foxconn factory is abhorrent. I am also not saying that they are not commiting suicide becuase of their working conditions. I was just pointing out that journalists are making news over this and are saying "workers commit suicide BECAUSE FOXCONN are so bad" when statistically they are not.
And yet i don't see massive outrage at cadbury on child labor at cocoa farms. Or rage against Dubai's indian slave labor trade.

And no i'm not a shill for foxconn (is your second option that i have a personal vendetta against France Telecom?)

79.8.2010 5:01
llongtheD
Inactive

Originally posted by magnets:
Quote:
That is all very nice, but you are not exactly making a direct comparison. First of all, it is a given that everyone at the foxconn plant has a job that (at least) pays for their living expenses. These workers get healthcare (to a point), so they are generally drug-free (can't afford drugs anyway), and in decent health. Those who are in poor mental or physical health are usually fired. If you were to compare worker suicides that occur on company property at Foxconn vs any other company anywhere in the world, Foxconn would have the higher number. Factor in the low rates of physical problems, mental issues, and drug abuse, and Foxconn has significantly more suicides than any company that has similar rates of each...and on top of that, most Foxconn suicides happen on company property (Dorms are owned by Foxconn).
You make a very good point, but it doesn't explain the fact that Frances telecom company rate is so much higher.
Those workers (in France) presumably would also be fired for drug and alchohol abuse or be offered counselling (both scenarios should lower the suicide rate at the company).

one could also make the argument that if the workers did not live (or rather "be housed") at the work site then the suicide rate would be lower not higher still, (that's if we are not counting suicides outside of factory property).

I do see what you are saying but perhaps if we could compare Foxconn to other similar sized companies with similar conditions. It's my belief that foxconn would still have a lower rate.

@llongtheD
I don't doubt that compared to a western lifestyle, or indeed most lifestyles working in a foxconn factory is abhorrent. I am also not saying that they are not commiting suicide becuase of their working conditions. I was just pointing out that journalists are making news over this and are saying "workers commit suicide BECAUSE FOXCONN are so bad" when statistically they are not.
And yet i don't see massive outrage at cadbury on child labor at cocoa farms. Or rage against Dubai's indian slave labor trade.

And no i'm not a shill for foxconn (is your second option that i have a personal vendetta against France Telecom?)
Nope, I'm still convinced of my first option. Thats what's great about statistics. No matter how much people suffer, it can always be skewed by them. What would the statistics be if you asked how many foxconn "employees" liked their jobs in front of their managers, as opposed to how many liked their jobs if their managers could have no influence on their lives?
I can be sure the "statistics" would be skewed again.

89.8.2010 9:03

factory work is terrible to start off with i know cause i tryed it when i was 19 assembling blinds.but the fact they are working 16hours a day or more and getting paid between $130-180 per month is shocking (refur to article a few months ago).In this case it may of been an accident(just maybe).the other people killing themselves was no accident.Was speaking to a chinese woman yesturday about foxconn and she said the head of foxconn is 1 of the richest business men in china.I get paid $1400 per month sickness benefits and don't work.the english,americans and australias have it lucky.


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

99.8.2010 14:22

please they employ 400,000 people, that more than MS and apple combined! the fact that in china a couple of their employees commited suicide isnt much when its way less than the national average.

1010.8.2010 3:04

Originally posted by shaffaaf:
please they employ 400,000 people, that more than MS and apple combined! the fact that in china a couple of their employees commited suicide isnt much when its way less than the national average.
LOL...the only reason apple has so few employees is because they outsource everything to foxconn.

As for france telecom, it is generally agreed that a corporate policy of employee harassment was the cause of most of those suicides. In addition to the corporate goal of making all the employees think they are about to get fired, the workers were overworked to the point that they could not do their job within their shift, leading to even more fears for their jobs. This also lead to all the customers being angry...and then taking it out on the workers who were doing their best. Stress is stress...millionaires kill themselves because of the same kind of stress that a foxconn or france telecom employee would. Yes, france telecom is a terrible company, but even they have made changes. So far, all foxconn has done is to give tiny raises that don't cover the increases in cost of living...oh, and they put nets outside the windows for a while; but obviously those were removed quickly.

1110.8.2010 14:07

So after she was raped and thrown out the window of the dormitory she must have committed suicide? These dormitories dont have decks to fall off of and I find it very suspicious that she fell from the window. If she was going to commit suicide my best guess is she would OD on something as it is more like men to shoot themselves in the head or jump from high places. Even if it is homicide we will never know as it will get covered up.

1210.8.2010 15:47

I read the article in Chinese, she committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the dorm around 4AM in the morning.

The reason has to be a psychological one... The working condition is better than most other Chinese factories and the pay is better too. What's stressing the workers out is that they're not allowed to talk to each other. Most young workers (such as the one in the article) missed friends and families, the silence is just too much. This is no different from solitary confinement.

Think about it, most other jobs say coal miners or chefs/waiters from busy restaurant, after work, people just sing/drink/embrace themselves with friends to unwind the stressful day.

1323.8.2010 22:09

Originally posted by djeazyg:
"If" she just fell then this is a non story. Work place accidents happen all the time. This is only news because of the iPhone. Why cant people just accept that people like the phone and get over it.
That may be the case but under Chinese laws one can operate a factory without insurance covering the workers. That is the Killer. Only way one can get some compensation is if it gets media attention.

You should look for the BBC documentary on general working conditions - I mean salary / insurance - in factories catering to the western countries. One instance I remember is salary of approximately US$ 40/- for a 30 day, 12 hour per day job!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Aug 2010 @ 22:23

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